Effects of a Mental Health Intervention in Athletes: Applying Self-Determination Theory

Stephen Shannon, Doncha Hannah, Tandy Haughey, Gerard Leavey, Conor McGeown, Gavin Breslin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Introduction: Many sport associations have responded to mental health issues in sport through the inclusion of self-management programmes, such as mindfulness training, which may improve well-being through increasing one’s competence in self-regulating stressors. Yet, the mechanisms accounting such changes lack a theoretical basis, particularly in athletes. Aims: To determine the effect of a mental health intervention comprising a mindfulness programme for promoting well-being, reducing stress, and increasing competence in mental health self-management. This is the first study among athletes to test the mechanisms of change in a mindfulness programme using Self-Determination Theory (SDT). Method: A 2 (groups) x 2 (time-point) non-randomised controlled trial was conducted, and between-groups baseline differences were firstly assessed. Two competing regression models assessing singular and serial indirect mediating mechanisms were conducted, in which mindfulness (Model 1) and competence satisfaction (Model 2) were both tested as primary and secondary mediators predicting change scores in stress and well-being. Demographic variables (i.e. gender, age) were controlled for in the analyses. Results: Two hundred and thirty-eight student athletes (mean age = 20.47 years, SD=3.30, 57.6% = males) participated, with 108 in the intervention group who received an instructional workshop, and a home-directed mindfulness programme comprising daily meditation sessions. No baseline differences were found between intervention and control groups. In Model 1, mindfulness was not directly enhanced by the intervention, subsequently resulting in no indirect effects on competence, stress and well-being. In Model 2, the intervention was directly related to positive changes in competence (β=.39, p <.05), subsequently resulting in indirect effects on mindfulness awareness (β=.07, p < .05), stress (β=-.06, p <.05), and well-being (β=.05, p <.05). In addition, serial indirect effects for the intervention on stress were present through competence and mindfulness awareness in sequence (β=-.02, p <.05), and; on well-being through competence, mindfulness awareness, and stress in sequence (β=.01, p <.05; R2=.54). Conclusion: Mindfulness-based mental health interventions may be effective at reducing stress and promoting well-being in athletes, with the caveat that attention is given to the inclusion of mental health competence promotion in programme design. However, it remains unclear whether increasing mindfulness itself can exert additional salutary effects. Our findings have an important bearing on how mindfulness programmes are developed within athlete mental health interventions.
LanguageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 30 Jul 2019

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Mindfulness
Personal Autonomy
Athletes
Mental Health
Mental Competency
Self Care
Sports
Meditation
Health Promotion
varespladib methyl

Keywords

  • health psychology
  • sport
  • mediation
  • well-being
  • needs satisfaction

Cite this

@article{b3a9edca65944461a4b0b8b48adfe571,
title = "Effects of a Mental Health Intervention in Athletes: Applying Self-Determination Theory",
abstract = "Introduction: Many sport associations have responded to mental health issues in sport through the inclusion of self-management programmes, such as mindfulness training, which may improve well-being through increasing one’s competence in self-regulating stressors. Yet, the mechanisms accounting such changes lack a theoretical basis, particularly in athletes. Aims: To determine the effect of a mental health intervention comprising a mindfulness programme for promoting well-being, reducing stress, and increasing competence in mental health self-management. This is the first study among athletes to test the mechanisms of change in a mindfulness programme using Self-Determination Theory (SDT). Method: A 2 (groups) x 2 (time-point) non-randomised controlled trial was conducted, and between-groups baseline differences were firstly assessed. Two competing regression models assessing singular and serial indirect mediating mechanisms were conducted, in which mindfulness (Model 1) and competence satisfaction (Model 2) were both tested as primary and secondary mediators predicting change scores in stress and well-being. Demographic variables (i.e. gender, age) were controlled for in the analyses. Results: Two hundred and thirty-eight student athletes (mean age = 20.47 years, SD=3.30, 57.6{\%} = males) participated, with 108 in the intervention group who received an instructional workshop, and a home-directed mindfulness programme comprising daily meditation sessions. No baseline differences were found between intervention and control groups. In Model 1, mindfulness was not directly enhanced by the intervention, subsequently resulting in no indirect effects on competence, stress and well-being. In Model 2, the intervention was directly related to positive changes in competence (β=.39, p <.05), subsequently resulting in indirect effects on mindfulness awareness (β=.07, p < .05), stress (β=-.06, p <.05), and well-being (β=.05, p <.05). In addition, serial indirect effects for the intervention on stress were present through competence and mindfulness awareness in sequence (β=-.02, p <.05), and; on well-being through competence, mindfulness awareness, and stress in sequence (β=.01, p <.05; R2=.54). Conclusion: Mindfulness-based mental health interventions may be effective at reducing stress and promoting well-being in athletes, with the caveat that attention is given to the inclusion of mental health competence promotion in programme design. However, it remains unclear whether increasing mindfulness itself can exert additional salutary effects. Our findings have an important bearing on how mindfulness programmes are developed within athlete mental health interventions.",
keywords = "health psychology, sport, mediation, well-being, needs satisfaction",
author = "Stephen Shannon and Doncha Hannah and Tandy Haughey and Gerard Leavey and Conor McGeown and Gavin Breslin",
year = "2019",
month = "7",
day = "30",
language = "English",
journal = "Frontiers in Psychology",
issn = "1664-1078",

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T1 - Effects of a Mental Health Intervention in Athletes: Applying Self-Determination Theory

AU - Shannon, Stephen

AU - Hannah, Doncha

AU - Haughey, Tandy

AU - Leavey, Gerard

AU - McGeown, Conor

AU - Breslin, Gavin

PY - 2019/7/30

Y1 - 2019/7/30

N2 - Introduction: Many sport associations have responded to mental health issues in sport through the inclusion of self-management programmes, such as mindfulness training, which may improve well-being through increasing one’s competence in self-regulating stressors. Yet, the mechanisms accounting such changes lack a theoretical basis, particularly in athletes. Aims: To determine the effect of a mental health intervention comprising a mindfulness programme for promoting well-being, reducing stress, and increasing competence in mental health self-management. This is the first study among athletes to test the mechanisms of change in a mindfulness programme using Self-Determination Theory (SDT). Method: A 2 (groups) x 2 (time-point) non-randomised controlled trial was conducted, and between-groups baseline differences were firstly assessed. Two competing regression models assessing singular and serial indirect mediating mechanisms were conducted, in which mindfulness (Model 1) and competence satisfaction (Model 2) were both tested as primary and secondary mediators predicting change scores in stress and well-being. Demographic variables (i.e. gender, age) were controlled for in the analyses. Results: Two hundred and thirty-eight student athletes (mean age = 20.47 years, SD=3.30, 57.6% = males) participated, with 108 in the intervention group who received an instructional workshop, and a home-directed mindfulness programme comprising daily meditation sessions. No baseline differences were found between intervention and control groups. In Model 1, mindfulness was not directly enhanced by the intervention, subsequently resulting in no indirect effects on competence, stress and well-being. In Model 2, the intervention was directly related to positive changes in competence (β=.39, p <.05), subsequently resulting in indirect effects on mindfulness awareness (β=.07, p < .05), stress (β=-.06, p <.05), and well-being (β=.05, p <.05). In addition, serial indirect effects for the intervention on stress were present through competence and mindfulness awareness in sequence (β=-.02, p <.05), and; on well-being through competence, mindfulness awareness, and stress in sequence (β=.01, p <.05; R2=.54). Conclusion: Mindfulness-based mental health interventions may be effective at reducing stress and promoting well-being in athletes, with the caveat that attention is given to the inclusion of mental health competence promotion in programme design. However, it remains unclear whether increasing mindfulness itself can exert additional salutary effects. Our findings have an important bearing on how mindfulness programmes are developed within athlete mental health interventions.

AB - Introduction: Many sport associations have responded to mental health issues in sport through the inclusion of self-management programmes, such as mindfulness training, which may improve well-being through increasing one’s competence in self-regulating stressors. Yet, the mechanisms accounting such changes lack a theoretical basis, particularly in athletes. Aims: To determine the effect of a mental health intervention comprising a mindfulness programme for promoting well-being, reducing stress, and increasing competence in mental health self-management. This is the first study among athletes to test the mechanisms of change in a mindfulness programme using Self-Determination Theory (SDT). Method: A 2 (groups) x 2 (time-point) non-randomised controlled trial was conducted, and between-groups baseline differences were firstly assessed. Two competing regression models assessing singular and serial indirect mediating mechanisms were conducted, in which mindfulness (Model 1) and competence satisfaction (Model 2) were both tested as primary and secondary mediators predicting change scores in stress and well-being. Demographic variables (i.e. gender, age) were controlled for in the analyses. Results: Two hundred and thirty-eight student athletes (mean age = 20.47 years, SD=3.30, 57.6% = males) participated, with 108 in the intervention group who received an instructional workshop, and a home-directed mindfulness programme comprising daily meditation sessions. No baseline differences were found between intervention and control groups. In Model 1, mindfulness was not directly enhanced by the intervention, subsequently resulting in no indirect effects on competence, stress and well-being. In Model 2, the intervention was directly related to positive changes in competence (β=.39, p <.05), subsequently resulting in indirect effects on mindfulness awareness (β=.07, p < .05), stress (β=-.06, p <.05), and well-being (β=.05, p <.05). In addition, serial indirect effects for the intervention on stress were present through competence and mindfulness awareness in sequence (β=-.02, p <.05), and; on well-being through competence, mindfulness awareness, and stress in sequence (β=.01, p <.05; R2=.54). Conclusion: Mindfulness-based mental health interventions may be effective at reducing stress and promoting well-being in athletes, with the caveat that attention is given to the inclusion of mental health competence promotion in programme design. However, it remains unclear whether increasing mindfulness itself can exert additional salutary effects. Our findings have an important bearing on how mindfulness programmes are developed within athlete mental health interventions.

KW - health psychology

KW - sport

KW - mediation

KW - well-being

KW - needs satisfaction

M3 - Article

JO - Frontiers in Psychology

T2 - Frontiers in Psychology

JF - Frontiers in Psychology

SN - 1664-1078

ER -